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I just did a headliner instalation and thought my Camaro friends might be able to use a few tips I found most helpful.

The headliner was not difficult but I have some very valuable tips that you will not get from a book. Print this out or save for reference. I just sent this to a friend and I figured maybe someone here could use the info while I was buisy typing this up.

Start by disconnecting the battery or just the courtesy light fuse. Begin by removing all the stuff that screws into the roof and bag together the pieces with the hardware. Pull the roof rail windlacing off and the front and rear windlacing as well. It helps to have the front and rear glass out to do this job but it can be done with it still installed. Cut out the old headliner and you will notice there are support rods set into holes on the side structure. You must label the rods so you know the order they go back into the car front to rear. You must also label the holes they came out of before you remove them as there are 3 different sets of holes. I used a black magic marker on the sides of the roof for this. Masking tape on the roof bows for lables. Polish off the surface rust on the bows to help the new headliner slide better at asembly/adjustment time.

The new headliner will be labled "front" and will have a centerline. Cut a small "V" on the front and back to help find the center from looking at the other side. Here are the best tips I have for the headliner. Buy 4 boxes of medium size sheet metal paperclips that look like butterflies from the office supply store. You will realy need 4 dozen. All fasteners for anything that attaches to the roof should be installed at this time to help you find the holes after the headliner is installed. You will install the headliner over them and feel around with your fingers for them after the headliner is in place.

You need to buy 3M lighter duty headliner glue. Start with installing the bows into the headliner then put the center bow in the roof first. You will need to scrunch the headliner on both sides as it will be too long for the bows. Install all the bows in thier original locations and starting from the center bow. The white plastic bow center retainers can be soaked in a cup of hot water to make them pliable before installing the bows.

Start trimming back the listings a small amout at a time. Do a small amount on one side, then do the same bow on the other side. Use the paper clamps to attach the headliner to the metal edges on the sides of the car. Another trick here is to cut a slit in the liner on both sides of the listing about 1/4" away from each seam. This will give you a tab to pull on while you are adjusting the listings with a razor blade or scissors. You want to pull out most all the wrinkles to get a clean job. The listings need to be intact within 1" of the ends of the bows in order for the roof to look right when finished.

There is a tacking strip on the inside of the sail panel. You will need a staple gun to attach the material there. Always remember to work out the wrinkles as you go.

When you have the sides nice and tight and where you want them, you can glue them to the metal edges. Do one side at a time using the paperclamps. When both sides are done, you work on the front and rear. Pull the material tight as you glue and clamp it to the metal edjing. If all goes well at this point, you are home free.

Recover the side earmuff sail panel covers with the material provided and the headliner glue. The grain needs to go the same direction as it did originaly so pay attention to it. If your cardboard is rotten, you can make new ones or buy replacements. The retainers are the same as for the inner door panels. If you need to make new panels, you will need to transfer the old retainer clips to the new replacement panels. I cut the old ones out leaving a square hole and used the old panlels to mark the locations on the new panels. 3M black weatherstrip adhesive worked well here. Just push the retainers into the sail panels and they are done.

After the glue has dried on the metal edjes, remove the paperclamps and install the windlacing. Feel with your fingers to find the fasteners and cut tiny slits for the screws. Attach the coat hooks, shoulder belts, sunvisors etc. and you are done. If your visors need recovering, I would have it done by an apholstery shop. Mine were fine so I just reinstalled them.

Any remaining wrinkles will be worked out by careful heating and/or steam. Cut off the excess material and that is it.

Hope this is not too much information. This was my first headliner and I am glad I did it myself. Very satisfying.

Good luck!

-Mark.


[This message has been edited by stingr69 (edited 05-07-2002).]
 

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I too did my own headliner recently and didn't find it too dificult. The one thing I still am having trouble with was the replacement plastic trim that goes around the rear window to cover the edge where you glued the headliner. With my car being a complete color change, I could not reuse that piece and I am finding it impossible to bend the plastic piece I bought to make it fit, even with the rear window out! Anyone with any ideas please let me know. I have tried a heat gun to soften the plastic, and as I mentioned before, have come to the conclusion that this crummy piece of plastic is just not going to bend in the proper shape to make it fit.
 

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I also did a color change from medium "pea soup" green to black and I was able to buy used black original windlacing for 3 sides. The back black windlacing I never did buy because I was able to nicely re-dye the original green piece to black. I first cleaned it with thinner and then used a primer surface treatment, followed by several light dustings of spray on vinyl dye about 10 minutes apart. The rear window windlace gets much less wear and tear as compared to, say the door jamb windlace for example, so the color change works well on that particular piece. Not as well on a piece subjected to lots of rubbing etc. It was black for many years before I changed out the headliner so I know it is durable in that application. Hope this helps.

I would look for a used original piece for your car if your original is shot and go from there.

-Mark.
 

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I am putting a headliner in my 69 Z28 and sure do appreciate the feedback and the heads up! Thanks to all for the helpful info.
 
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